A 115 million-year-old dinosaur fossil was found destroyed in Bunurong Marine Park in the Australian state of Victoria. The fossil was a three-toed theropod footprint and was first discovered in 2006.
The Bunurong Marine Park is also known as the Dinosaur Dreaming site and is of utmost importance when it comes to paleontology. This site is the sole witness to the time when Australia was still connected to Antarctica and is, therefore, one of the very few high-latitude dinosaur zones in the world.
The Early Cretaceous Dinosaur Dreaming site was discovered in 1991 and more than 20 fossilized bones were found near Inverloch on the Bass Coast of Victoria, south-east of Melbourne. These fossils were buried in a rock layer that once was the bed of an ancient river channel that flowed across the great rift valley between the landmass of Antarctica and Australia. More than 15,000 bones and teeth were found from this site over 20 years of excavation. A partial dinosaur skeleton was found in 2005 along the Otway Coast situated south-west of Melbourne.
The footprint that has been damaged belonged to the theropod which was a bipedal meat-eating dinosaur related to the T.rex.
Palaeontologists decided to not excavate the footprint instead made a silicon mould of the print and left the fossil untouched at the original site itself. As per reports, the vandals have destroyed the footprint's toes and claim it to be an intentional act.
"The rock there is reasonably hard, so it looks like it's been hit with a hammer and pieces of the rock around the edge of the footprint has been broken away," Brian Martin, Park Victoria ranger told the ABC.
"For someone to damage it intentionally, you'd have to have a rough idea of where it is because seaweed grows on the rock platform and it looks like a normal rock until you look closely and see the outline of the footprint," he further added.
Palaeontologists from Museums Victoria are working with the silicon mould in order to restore the fossil, which definitely won't get back to its previous form.
Inclination towards destruction somehow runs in the blood of the human race, starting from the destruction of Rome by the vandals to this very incident, is the proof of the fact. In 2014, a 200 million-year-old dinosaur footprint was vandalized along the South Wales coast. The destructors filled the footprint with plaster of Paris and then tried smashing it with a breeze block.
A 190 million year dinosaur track near Moab in Utah went missing in 2014. Vandalism was also found on the rocks near Canyonlands National Park containing thousand-year-old ancient art like the petroglyphs in Utah's Moonflower canyon.